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Pak athletics rocked by doping scandal

Sports

May 27, 2020

ISLAMABAD: National athletics has been rocked by a doping scandal as three of the medal winners of the 13th South Asian Games (SAG) have tested positive for performance enhancing drugs, denting the image of the Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP).

A well-placed source in the AFP has confirmed that three athletes -- gold medal winners Mehboob Ali (400m hurdles) and M Inam (110m hurdles) and bronze medallist Samiullah (100m) -- have been reported positive (from first sample) for using performance enhancing drugs.

If the tests are still positive from the second samples (to which they will be given the option), Pakistan will lose six medals as all three athletes were also part of bronze medal-winning relay teams. Pakistan’s athletics contingent won 13 medals in all including five gold, two silver and six bronze medals.

In case the six medals are lost, Pakistan will be left with seven medals -- one less than even Nepal, who is considered a mediocre nation in athletics. Sri Lanka (15 golds) left India (12) behind for top spot in the 13th South Asian Games athletics meet.

“Yes, we have received a communique from the 13th SA Games committee that three of Pakistan’s athletes have tested positive. WADA is expected to make its announcement in a few days. Athletes have the option to go for sample B. In majority of cases athletes hardly use the option. Sample B is already available with the organisers,” a source in the AFP said.

Only a few weeks back the Ministry of Inter Provincial Coordination presented the athletics contingent with Rs7.5 million as cash awards for its performance in the South Asian Games. The AFP has also been one of the luckiest sports federations to get some cash under the head of special grant from the ministry at a time when majority of other federations are waiting for the normal grant for a long time. It is not yet clear whether the ministry will demand the return of the cash award presented to athletes.

AFP President Major General (retd) Akram Sahi said in a TV interview that all the athletes who have tested positive for performance enhancing drugs were now facing a ban. “We have received a communique from the relevant committee and have intimated the three athletes. They have been asked to determine the future course of action. If found guilty, they will be stripped of their medals and proper action will be taken.”